Armchair Archaeology with CITiZAN
01/05/2020 | Lara Band, Chris Kolonko and Sam Griffiths
If you’ve followed our blog or other archaeology based blogs, you’ll already know that archaeology isn’t just about excavation. One of those other practices in the discipline of archaeology is desk-based research; which is a centrepiece of CITiZAN’s work. It is also one of the key contributions our volunteers make when they are not on the foreshore! So, what is it all about and how can you join in from home during lockdown?
Report from the Reina Del Pacifico (Built 1931). Image taken from the Lloyds Registry's online archive hec.lrfoundation.org.uk.
© Lloyds Registry Heritage & Education Centre, 2020
In the wider archaeology sector, desk-based research is employed for several reasons like dissertation writing or planning consultancy. Do a search for “desk based research in archaeology” and the first bunch of pages come back with archaeology companies advertising their services. This is a key part of the archaeology sector: ‘Desk Based Assessments’ are reports that provide initial information on archaeology that may be affected by development works (buildings; roads; new flood defences etc). They are written in advance of work such as a new housing estate, a new school or even, if you’re lucky enough to live in an area rich with archaeology, an extension to your house.
But anyone can look into their local history and archaeology; whether you'd like to know the history of your house or are more widely interested in your area's past.
Images from a recent trip to Liverpool Archive. You can also visit their online catalogue.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be passing on our knowledge of the best places to search for information but for now here’s a search to get you going. You can find previous ‘Desk Based Assessments’ (or DBAs as archaeologists call them for short) reports for your area that will detail lots of the historic and archaeological background and suggest where to find out more. Anyone can access DBAs through the Archaeological Data Service (or the ADS as archaeologists call it - we love acronyms!). Find reports by going to Search on their menu bar then typing the following into the search box: “your place of interest” AND ”desk based assessment” (this is known as a Boolean search). Then click on the ARCHSEARCH button below the search box. If you don’t get any results try widening your search by putting the parish or the county as “your place of interest”.
© The National Archives
Why not start by searching online for archaeological information in an area of the coast near you? If you’re interested in doing more and using what you’ve found to update or add features to the CITiZAN Coastal Map then we’d like you to join our Armchair Archaeology team! Email us here to register interest. As soon as our research resource pack is ready we’ll be back in touch with suggestions for the stretches of coastline we’d really like you, our Armchair Archaeologists, to research!
References and Acknowledgements
Images from Liverpool Maritime Museum Archive and the Lloyds Register Foundation's Heritage Education Centre website. You can search both there online catalogues through these links or find out if your local archive is online. The Lloyds Register Foundation are one of our close project partners.